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Directed by Lars von Trier

Denmark, 2011

Cornerhouse, 1 October 2011


This is how the world ends, not with a bang but with a…

Lars von Trier’s film has something of the quality of the fiction of Ballard or Lem.  It is science fiction but set in the near-present, a world very much like our own. 

The difference is that there’s a newly discovered planet, a planet that some bright spark with a talent for resonant meaning has named Melancholia, and that it may well collide with the earth.  Some people are especially worried about the prospect, or especially susceptible to its influence, and it makes them, well, melancholy and sad.  Only (or primarily) women are effected, it seems; it passes men by, on the whole.

There are memorable performances by the likes of Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg, who’re always very watchable actresses, and the world with its atmosphere of tension is fairly convincing.  But somehow it seems a superficial film with very little point.